Friday, March 2, 2012

Junior Landcare, not always to plan

I have been back doing Junior Landcare activities with the kids the last few weeks.  There was an unfortunate discovery when we arrived at school today. The eco-shed, where we conduct many of our activities had been visited by many unwelcome guests during our weekly absence.  EEEEWWWWW! I hate rats.  Poo everywhere, a bad smell in the air, no decent broom, no cloths, no bin and a hoard of preps due to arrive any minute for their first session of Landcare on a wet and misty day.

We (myself and fellow volunteers) improvised and frantically cleaned with paper towels, cleaner, and a broken broom we found hiding behind some junk. Feeling a little grossed and seriously underpaid. After 15minutes it seemed strange not to hear the tell tale banter of children approaching. After 20minutes we realised things were amiss.

It turns out that no one had bothered to mention to the class that they had Landcare. Oh good, pleased my email the day before, and call confirming Landcare in the morning had been in vain. Pleased I have spent all morning getting things organised, calling volunteers to let them know what's happening and garnering their help. Pleased Nanna has driven for 40minutes to look after my little one. Some major communication break down occurring.

Deep breath.

Fortunately not all was lost, the teachers quickly organised their kids and came across. No small feat for a bunch of new preps. We still managed to run 1/2 the activity with the first group of preps and the second class got to participate in all we had planned.

Every year the Preps have a fairy theme and do things centred around their fairy garden. Today they 

  1. planted succulents in pots to put in the fairy garden, it's a shady weedy bushland nook that poses quite a few management challenges, not the least being spiny blackberry canes.
  2. made fairy bread and cut out shapes in the bread using cutters - a more challenging activity for preps than you may at first think.
  3. made a giant brightly coloured fairy web using - scrap fabric cut into strips, wool, and some big Eucalyptus branches we found lying around. A bit like a massive loosely constructed gods eye (if you know what they are).
Fancy fairy bread
To make up for the initial chaos the preps were incredibly sweet and well behaved and I still felt glad for the effort. 

Our first session of Landcare for the year wasn't the most auspicious. I had planned a nature walk and some vegie gardening.  After chatting with some other volunteers we thought we would try and simplify Landcare this year as we were feeling a little burnt out from doing too much. Even though I want my children - and others, to do more craft, cook more produce, dig in our beautiful garden, and learn about the environment, it doesn't have to be me trying to fill this void every week (it's only taken me a few years to make this small revelation). I digress.

The children had just finished picking apples, nashis, and plums to munch on when an almighty storm hit sending us all inside. The rain pounding on the tin roof was too loud to talk or read a book over.  What to do with some frisky 7 year olds excited by lightning and thunder? I quickly found some paper and pencils and asked the children to draw some pictures of things they had seen in nature lately.  I put some natural materials on their tables for them to explore more closely.  The pictures were just lovely, some even glued on some bits of nature and cut out their creations. I think they often just have colouring in, so they relished the free reign on subject and materials. There was no break in the rain for the children to make their way back to school for pick up time so all were drenched.  Most definitely our wettest Landcare session ever.

I'm always too busy with the children to take photos of our Junior Landcare sessions so here is a couple from home.

The rain is just bucketing down here.  I think we've had at least 100mm -the rain guage that takes 40mm has overfilled twice.  And it's still raining. Autumn is marching in with a defiant roar and already I miss summer. I'm sure we'll catch a glimpse of her this month, at least I hope so for the sake of my melons and cucumbers. Not quite eating size yet.


  1. Sounds like a pretty hectic but exciting day! I have a little Preppy that would have just loved to have been there! :)

  2. Very busy there;-). Hope the cucumbers and melons will give you some harvest before the cold weather kicks in.


In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
Margaret Atwood

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
"Winter is dead.”
― A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young